A traveler’s Horror Story
It’s story time!
Narrator: Story Story
Narrator: Once upon a time
Response: Time Time
Lol… Doesn’t this remind you of tales by moonlight? For me, it certainly does.
Today’s story is about one of those times where I got stuck on the road while traveling. I had just begun my travel life. Being a member of an international students organisation, traveling was inevitable. Three months into the organization after experiencing my first conference, I made up my mind to experience others for as long as possible.
The Travel plan:
The conference held three times a year in three different destinations in the country. It was December, conference was scheduled to hold in Illorin, Kwara state. Prior to that time, I had this piggy bank where all my extra change went to. I saved every extra money I had for one month. That funded my travel from scratch to finish. Travel plans rolled in, research carried out and I was all set to leave.
The journey was for 12 hours. Set out at 7am. First 6 hours was spent from Calabar to Onitsha. Took a break for one hour. Then headed for Illorin, which took the next 8 hours. Due to delays. I got to my destination, thankful to God, settled, attended the conference for 5 days and was set to leave for Calabar thereafter.
Related: Marina resort, Calabar.
As usual, I left the hotel for the park at about 7am. The bus took time to get filled.
**First travel tip: Do not go late to the bus terminal.
Related: You should read this article on road trips and everything you should know. I elaborated everything you should know and do when road tripping.
At 10, after so much delay, we left for Onitsha. This took us over 7 hours. On the way, I kept asking fellow passengers when we would reach our destination. The lady who sat beside me said at about 6. That’s when it downed on me “OMG! I’m gonna be stuck!
Quick pause! Did I mention that I got a lot careless with my phone at the conference? Like, my charging port got spoilt and I couldn’t charge my phone properly? I didn’t? Well… Let’s go on.
We finally reached onitsha at 6pm. Everyone in the bus alighted save for me. I was clueless, I couldn’t leave for calabar that night. All bus terminals would have closed by now, I thought to myself. I had heard horrible stories of many social vices that go on in Onitsha especially at “upper iweaka road”. Although I didn’t know where that was, but thinking about that name gave me the hibbi jibbies. My phone was dead, I was tired and hungry. I was also sad that my family and friends would be panicking, my Mom most especially.
Holdup: I also noticed that in all this confusion, I didn’t panic so much. I kept calm and was looking for immediate solutions. I prayed Like 55 times and kept saying to myself “all is well”. Seen the movie “3 idiots” yet? Lol…
The bus driver noticed I was standing by the vehicle. He asked me what the problem is, If I was waiting for someone. I narrated my ordeal to him. He was passionate enough to invite me into his home to pass the night. That was one option.
Nigerian settings kicked in! Being a Nigerian, brought up in a Nigerian home, my mama just automatically instilled some sort of fear and terror in me about strangers. I, with so much displeasure, turned down his offer. By the way, the displeasure was heavy. Like he offered me food! A warm bed! His home!
Don’t blame me! I was scared. I didn’t trust him at all. Instead, I came up with another option. “Oga, I fit sleep inside your motor instead?” I asked in vernacular. He was taken aback by my request. I apologized and explained why I couldn’t take his offer. The driver had no issues with it. He asked if I could survive the discomfort let me pass the night in his bus.
Did you notice that my scared self didn’t even ask if I could use his phone to reach my parents. I still wonder why till today.
I had snacks in my bag. I always prepack my snacks before traveling.
Related: You should read this article on What to pack for road trips.
Ate my snacks for the night, urinated in a nearby bush and came back to the bus to sleep. It was uncomfortable, but felt safe. There were other buses there cos it was a bus terminal but the ticketing “hall” was just a shed. Exposed and unreliable. I couldn’t sleep, for a long while I was wide awake. I kept on praying that God would give my family peace for the night and reassure them that I was safe. I prayed for myself, asking God for guidance and protection and sleep too. I desperately needed sleep.
Not long after, prayer was answered. I slept, not-so-sound, but I was glad I did. In the middle of my slumber, I sort of felt hands rubbing my legs and crawling up to my tights. Imagine my horror! I opened up my eyes and waited. Observing my environment without letting my environment know that I was awake. One of my many foreign movies survival hack. I didn’t feel anything on my body for a while, say 30 minutes (I’m actually accurate with time). I jumped to the conclusion that my mind was acting out my fear. I couldn’t wait for morning.
Morning and it’s Joy:
At first light, I woke up. Other drivers and passengers had started arriving. I sneaked out of the vehicle, went to pee again, washed my leg and face in a nearby tap. Picked my light luggage and left the park. I headed for the bus terminal to Calabar, bought my ticket and we set out. I felt so much better once I was on my way home.
My parents weren’t at home when I arrived. My siblings said they’ve gone to do their findings. My dad had already contacted his police friends. My Mom had gone to church to pray and see the pastor. Lol… Typical Nigerian mother. The students organisation family were already panicking and calling each other across the country. Yomi was most worried. He was technically my best friend before and after the conference. Once my phone came on, I called him first. Certified I was okay and unharmed. The calls had already started coming in. Text messages. Social media messages and even physical visits to certify I was okay. The physical visits were accompanied with playful beatings from my friends, warning me never to put their hearts in so much trouble.
- I learned that so many people actually care about me.
- I learned that not all strangers are harmful.
- I learned that having spare cash on you really helps out. I call it emergency cash.
- I learned that what you believe in works for you.
- I learned that when you’re supposed to panic, don’t!
- Most importantly, I learned to be smarter. I might not need so much strength, but I surely need my wits.
Ever had any terrible travel experience before? What was your most horrific travel moment? Let’s share, learn and probably laugh at each other.